THEME • Controlling idea or its central insight. • It is the unifying generalization about life stated or implied by the story. • To derive theme, we must determine what its central purpose is: what view of life it supports or what insight into life it reveals.
PRINCIPLES • There is no prescribed method for discovering theme. • At all times keep in mind the following principles when discovering theme.
PRINCIPLE #1 • Theme should be expressible in the form of a statement with a subject and a predicate. • Theme must be a statement about a subject.
PRINCIPLE #2 • The theme should be stated as a generalization about life. • Do not use the names of the characters or reference to precise places or events.
PRINCIPLE #3 • Be careful not to make the generalization larger than is justified by the terms of the story. • Terms like every, all, always should be used very cautiously; terms like some, sometimes, may are often more accurate.
PRINCIPLE #4 • Theme is the central and unifying concept of a story. Therefore: • It accounts for all the major details of the story. • The theme is not contradicted by any detail of the story. • The theme cannot rely upon supposed facts—facts not actually stated or clearly implied.
PRINCIPLE #5 • There is no one way of stating the theme of a story.
PRINCIPLE #6 • Avoid any statement that reduces the theme to some familiar saying that we have heard all our lives.
THEME • Using the preceding principles write a theme statement for “How I Met My Husband.”